Post #4 of 6 in the series: Social Media Best Practices
Instagram originated as an iOS only app with a tightly knit group of users. Since its Facebook acquisition, it has turned the corner on becoming one of the top social platforms. Now with over 200 million monthly active users and over 75 million daily users, Instagram is becoming an important digital marketing channel for businesses of all shapes and sizes. According to a recent article on FastCo, engagement on Instagram is 15 times higher than Facebook and it was the fastest growing mobile application in 2013. In Post #4 of our 6 part series, we are exploring Instagram at a deeper level to uncover the best practices for business use. Below are 4 tips to drive marketing success using Instagram.
Many people enjoy the photo editing features provided by Instagram, as well as the recent addition of video and hyperlapse options. An important step to take as a marketer is to set up a personal account and begin posting, if you haven’t already. Start to follow brands or products you are interested in and notice how they utilize the platform. Visual.ly created a handy infographic cheat sheet that can help the uninitiated get started with Instagram.
1. Hashtags are a great way to attract new followers and activity to your Instagram account. Use tools like sprout social to identify trending hashtags and ways to use them in your posts. When using hashtags, plan to do some research ahead of time to avoid using anything that could be considered negative or controversial. Up to 30 hashtags are allowed per post, which includes comments and posts from others. Your company name can be a good hashtag for sales and promotions, if it is a well-known brand, but popular keywords will typically deliver more awareness. Some popular hashtags to consider are: #instagood #follow #photooftheday and #instadaily. TopShop has done a good job harnessing their brand as a hashtag on Instagram.
2. Understand your audience: surprise and delight them. Starbucks curates and posts user submitted photos on Instagram. This small gesture helps their fans feel appreciated and valued on a deeply personal level by a large corporate brand. It also helps showcase the Starbucks brand in an authentic and more intimate level. When companies allow their advocates or fans to promote them, it becomes a win for everyone. The brand gets real and genuine positioning and the fan feels appreciated and that their voice has been heard.
3. Increase brand loyalty and stickiness by engaging your community. Nike does a great job with Instagram by encouraging their customers to #justdoit. Make company milestones about your community rather than your brand. Connect with users by understanding and celebrating events that are important to them. Above is an example of how Nike celebrated the Chicago Marathon on Instagram. As a result, their community engaged at a deep level and the post went viral.
4. Promote new products using Instagram advertising. According to Instagram, Ben & Jerry’s posted four sponsored images of their new flavor over the course of eight days. They reached over 9 million users and saw a 33-point increase in ad recall using this method. This approach can also work for small companies by targeting customer segments that line up with the right demographic. Sponsored posts aligned with the correct audience can result in a large increase in community size and engagement.